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Endurance challenges have become increasingly popular in recent years. These days, unless you have competed in an Ironman or cycled from one end of Africa to the other, preferably alone and without support, you don’t deserve to call yourself an endurance athlete.

Of course, for most people this type of event is totally out of reach. For them, they should start working out at a Hit 180 Fitness class before diving into something too exhausting. But if you want a challenge that pushes you out of your comfort zone whilst still letting you have a life, check out the following extreme endurance events and see which one you fancy signing up for.

"Top 5 Extreme Endurance Challenges"

http://marathondessables.co.uk/

Marathon des Sables

A regular marathon is hard enough, but most people could – at a push – manage to drag their bones around 26.2 miles. The Marathon des Sables is more than just a regular marathon. It is an ultra-marathon, which is lovingly referred to as the “toughest footrace on the planet”. This is an epic endurance race run in extreme conditions. Competitors run for six days in the heat of the desert, carrying their supplies and sleeping in a tent at night. It is brutal.

"Top 5 Extreme Endurance Challenges"

http://marathondessables.co.uk/

Badwater in Death Valley

The Badwater race is only for elite endurance athletes. You have to be the best of the best (or the most clinically insane) to pass muster for this race, as only 90 people are allowed to compete. Imagine running for 135 miles in 120-degree heat, finishing with a grueling 8,000-foot ascent up Mount Whitney. Are you tough enough?

"Top 5 Extreme Endurance Challenges"

http://nxtri.com/

Norseman Xtreme Triathlon

Triathlons are extremely popular. Most people start with a sprint triathlon, which is not too bad at all (as long as you can swim). This will soon get easy, so if you like a real challenge, sign up for the Norseman Xtreme Triathlon. It involves swimming across a freezing fjord, cycling over high mountain passes, and running a marathon that finishes 1850m up a mountain.

"Top 5 Extreme Endurance Challenges"

http://nxtri.com/

Antarctic Ice Marathon

Running in extreme cold temperatures is a feat of endurance in itself. If you don’t maintain the right pace, the freezing winds will probably kill you. Luckily, there are snowmobiles keeping watch so nobody dies. This race takes place a few hundred miles from the South Pole. Watch out for the penguins!

"Top 5 Extreme Endurance Challenges"

http://nxtri.com/

Chasqui Challenge

The Chasqui Challenge is for those who like to push their bodies to the limit in a scenic location. The first stage is the Inca Trail Marathon, which takes place in Machu Picchu. Next, you have to trek 31 miles around Mount Ausangate. If you manage both of those stages, there are further running challenges thrown in to keep you on your toes. In all, there is 100 miles of fun to look forward to. It’s a great challenge, but definitely not one for the faint hearted.

This is just a small selection of the world’s toughest races. People who take part in these races are often considered to be insane, but life is for living, so give it a go. After all, what have you got to lose?

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